Recruitment Process: What Yours Tells Potential Applicants

Written by Calvin Bowers

When running a business, it is important that your recruitment process is open and fair to everyone and that they are able to have confidence in the integrity of the decision-making and the outcome. This is something that can cause massive reputational damage if handled badly and can set the organisation back by years if it isn’t done correctly. 

Taking care to ensure that your recruitment process sends out the correct message to potential applicants is essential for business success in this day and age. This can only really be the case when several factors have been taken into careful consideration and addressed.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) 

One of the most important factors is the adherence to the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy that should help to inform the way that everything from the advertising of the post, to the narrowing down and shortlisting of potential candidates, to how the interview process is conducted.

It is important to look at the company’s EDI policy and work out how its aims are best advanced throughout the period of recruitment. An Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy should ideally be a touchstone policy document that essentially shapes and underpins how the company conducts itself, in both internal and external relationships and nowhere is this more evident than in recruitment.

It has never been more important to have inclusive recruitment policies as Generation Z, the young people who will be coming through to form the backbone of the workforce for the next decade, has a laser focus on diversity and inclusion. One of the most important factors toward them becoming happy staff in their place of employment is true equality and inclusion in the workplace      

Blind Hiring Practices in the Recruitment Process

The second factor that can help to make the process fairer is the use of blind hiring practices. This is a way of ensuring that the best person for the job is hired, regardless of their demographic information and anything else that may prejudice the initial information sift. 

This typically takes the form of removing any personally identifiable information from the CVs and covering letters presented to the panel who are looking at filling the post. In this way, they have no way of knowing whether the person applying is male or female, what their ethnic background is, etc. This makes it a lot easier to offer a genuine assessment without having to take into account the unconscious bias that can taint so many recruitment processes. 

Another popular method frequently used to help with blind hiring practices is to ignore social media information until after the pre-screening process has been undertaken. This means that instead of seeing social media posts from applicants that may chime with and reinforce some of your own unconscious biases, social media is examined at a later stage of the process. This allows a more diverse range of candidates with differing views and outlooks to progress to a later stage of the recruitment process than may otherwise happen. 

The Job Advertisement

It is even possible for the job advertisement itself to negatively influence the possibility of enticing people from diverse demographics into applying. It is important to consider the language used in the advert, as well as the images and the places where the advert is posted. 

All of these factors can have an impact on the perceptions that people from different demographic groups form about your company. An example of this is if the stock images used in the advert only depicted white men. This would send a message, whether intended or not that the workplace is not somewhere that is welcoming to non-white people, women and those who identify as LGBT+. That may not have been the intent of the advert but sometimes it is possible to communicate things that you don’t intend to when posting job adverts. 

One of the services that we offer to employers on our sister site Aspiring to Include is the chase to have us vet your job advert for inclusivity. Our experts in the area of inclusivity will look at the text of your advert and any images used and help you to tailor it more effectively so that it meets the criteria that your target audience will be measuring it by.

A Diverse Interview Panel

One of the best ways to show that your job vacancy is inclusive is to have a diverse interview panel, though this can also be a way to falsely demonstrate inclusivity for some. It is important that the interview panel isn’t just diverse for the sake of being able to say so. It shouldn’t just be a box-ticking exercise., as it will help your business attract diverse candidates

Applicants look at the interview panel and the recruitment process more generally to get an idea of what the company is like and if the panel doesn’t reflect the company, the successful applicants may feel a touch misled by the process. 

The interview panel needs to comprise people who have been well briefed on the criteria for the job and it can even be worth your while to rethink what you are looking for from the applicants in order to widen the access further. 

Reframe to Focus on Values in the Recruitment Process

Sometimes it is more productive to reframe the process so that you are focusing on the qualities and values that you are looking for from applicants rather than narrowly focusing on a particular qualification or aspect of educational attainment. This is because educational opportunities can sometimes exclude those who are quite clearly the best candidates, but they perhaps may have lacked the socioeconomic privilege to gain a degree qualification in their chosen field. 

Reframing in this way can lead to you finding people who are a better cultural fit for your company and who can learn anything that they need to while carrying out valuable work that advances the aims of the organisation. People who feel like their experiences have been valued and listened to will also work harder to repay the faith that has been placed in their abilities so this approach can benefit everyone involved.

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